Start Your YouTube Channel Right Now
I’m going to tell you a common story that I hear. It goes something like this:
Is your organization on Facebook?
Is your organization on Instagram?
Is your organization on YouTube?
That response is still more common than you might think. For all the constant refrain about the need for storytelling and ‘showing’ what you do, instead of telling everyone, YouTube still remains an afterthought for many conservation organizations.
“Oh, we post our videos on Facebook and Instagram!” is the usual explanation for not using YouTube.
Stop. Full stop.
Facebook and YouTube are not the same.
When you post a video on Facebook and Instagram it has a short shelf life. Very short. In a week or two it literally falls off the face of the Earth for views. On the other hand, weeks later, your video on YouTube will still be attracting views. Months later, your video will still be getting views. Why? YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine, behind Google. People search YouTube for videos about specific subjects. People rarely do that on Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are more about whatever randomly pops up on your timeline or gets shared by friends on a particular day.
Here’s 10 tips to help you get started today on YouTube. That’s right, today. No more procrastinating.
Start Your YouTube Channel Today
Guess what? Just like your organization, thousands of people are thinking of starting a YouTube channel. The problem is it never moves beyond just “thinking” about it. It’s more like “We should do that…” But it never happens. My advice to you is stop thinking about it and DO IT today. For every day your organization is procrastinating about starting a YouTube channel, other organizations in your same niche – and maybe even located near you — are growing and building thanks to your same potential audience.
Often, organizations that procrastinate launching a YouTube channel are also being held back out of fear. Will I look good on video? Will I sound intelligent? I don’t think I’m ready. Ugh. You can’t answer any of those questions unless you get started and gain experience. Every creator on YouTube got his/her start asking the exact same questions. The videos they made five years ago are nothing like the videos they make today. Experience is an amazing thing!
Your First Video Might Suck (And That’s OK)
Truth bomb: A few years from now, chances are you’ll want to delete the first video you ever posted on YouTube. The lighting sucked. You sucked. The audio sucked. The whole thing sucked. Bigly. But look on the positive side: At least you made a video! Now learn from it. Watch other channels and learn. YouTube just might be the easiest accessible coach in the world.
You Need a Strategy
Experience is something that grows over time. You still need a strategy. Without a strategy, you won’t be able to grow your channel.
Answer these questions to create your best strategy for growth on YouTube:
- How often will you post content? Daily, weekly, monthly? What time of the day will you publish videos? To answer these questions you will need to think about when your audience will most likely watch YouTube. For example, older adults may look at YouTube at night after work. Millennials are more likely to look at YouTube throughout the day.
- What is the goal of your channel on YouTube? You can only answer this question if you look at it from a viewer’s point of view. So that means ditching all that organization babble and mission statements and goals, and thinking about the goals of your viewers. What do you want your audience to gain from watching your content?
- You will need to know all about your target audience. How old are they? Are they mostly male or female? Or maybe a bit of both? What are the interests of your audience? If your audience is interested in birds, are they also interested in hiking? All of this knowledge about your audience helps you craft videos that will be of interest.
- Why should they care about your channel? You need to understand the answer to this huge question. There are a bazillion channels out there on YouTube. What makes you different? Find Your Niche and Build, Build, Build!
I’ve vlogged previously about the incredible business value of niching down. Generalists have millions of competitors. Those who niche down have fewer competitors and more chance to build genuine connections and more loyalty. You need to appeal to a specific audience. You can instantly determine if you are being too broad in scope if your about page goes something like this…. We focus on water quality and land management and camping and chopping wood. Woah. That’s too many ‘ands’. Cut the ‘ands’ as much as possible.
Niching is the fastest way to grow fast. Because you attract people who are interested in ‘your’ topic. No matter how niche, there are people who love your niche, just like you.
What Is Your Value Proposition?
Your value proposition is your elevator pitch. It tells your audience who you are and why they should watch your videos in about six words.
If your value proposition is “Helping you make better fishing videos.” That statement instantly tells people on YouTube why they should subscribe to you.
Get the Right Microphone
When you’re just getting started creating a YouTube channel, don’t relegate audio equipment to third or fourth on your list. It should be first. Why? People are more likely to stop watching a video because of bad audio. It hurts our ears in a way that’s completely different than our eyes watching bad video.
If you’re recording from a computer, I recommend a Blue Yeti microphone. It’s what I use. It sounds professional.
Create a Show Formula
Your videos will become easier to make if you develop a structure. This structure can serve as the template for all your future videos. Basics of good structure are an opening, and a strong hook that will make people continue to watch. Remember: Every viewer will determine within the first minute or less: Does this offer me something that is worth my time to stick around? Check out other successful YouTube channels and you’ll see that the creator has a formula for every video they make.
Get To Know Your YouTube Analytics
I get it, not everyone likes analytics. Here’s the thing about YouTube analytics: they’re actually very easy to understand and they provide the basics. YouTube analytics are not as overwhelming as Google analytics. Thanks goodness.
One great example is YouTube’s Watch Time metric. If you’re making videos that are five minutes long but your average Watch Time for your videos is low, you’ll want to evaluate your formula for making videos. Low Watch Time means you’re losing your audience fast as they begin to watch your videos.
Verify Your YouTube Channel
Have you verified your YouTube account yet? It’s important that you do. This will give you access to the most important tool on YouTube: custom thumbnails. To verify your channel, you’ll be asked to enter a phone number. YouTube will send a verification code by text or voice call to that phone number. Once you’ve verified your account, you can: Upload videos longer than 15 minutes, Add custom thumbnails, Live stream, Appeal Content ID claim.
Create an Interesting YouTube Channel Banner
Your channel banner should reinforce what you do. Be unique. Canva is a great tool for creating banners.